Loyola Marymount University is teaming with Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government to develop the next generation of Latino leaders among current college men and women.Five LMU students will participate in a weeklong program at the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership June 23-30 in Cambridge, Mass. They will be joining 36 students from seven other colleges and universities around the country chosen to participate in the Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI).Initiative participants were chosen following a highly selective application process for the prestigious educational and networking project started three years ago with development seed money from Walter Ulloa, an LMU trustee, Loyola Law School alumnus and chairman and CEO of Entravision Communications.The LMU students selected for the program this year are: Beatriz Alfaro of Santa Clarita; Daniel Echeverry of Northridge; Michelle Lara of La Crescenta; Sarah Palacios of Yakima, Wash.; and Nestor Pimienta Lopez of Hawthorne. They will be participating in the program with students from the University of California-Merced, Texas A&M International-Laredo, the University of Houston, the University of Texas-Pan American, Miami Dade College, City University of New York’s Macaulay Honors College and the University of Massachusetts-Boston.LLI’s 41 students will attend classes in negotiation, organizing, public narrative, emotional intelligence and public speaking, and will also meet with respected Latino leaders from the government, nonprofit and business sectors. Some of the visiting Latino mentors will include Gustavo Arnavat, executive director of the Inter-American Development Bank; Maria Hinojosa, senior correspondent for PBS’ broadcast news magazine “NOW;” and Dr. Robert Sackstein, Harvard Medical School professor.Faculty for the program will include Andy Zelleke and Marshall Ganz of Harvard Kennedy School; Harvard Divinity School professor David Carrasco; and Georgetown University professor Robert Bies. “We have a really impressive list of people teaching or mentoring,” said Dario Collado, CPL’s program manager for LLI.According to Loren Gary, CPL’s associate director for leadership development and public affairs, LLI aims to inspire confidence among the Latino participants “so that their horizons and potential are much higher than they may have allowed themselves to imagine.” As part of the LLI program, students from each university will work as teams to design a community service project that will be implemented in collaboration with faculty and administration at their home university.LLI’s participants this year comprise the most diverse group of students to date, more than 70 percent of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Beatriz Alfaro, LMU senior and LLI 2012 cohort group member, is among those first generation college student participants. Born in El Salvador and brought to the U.S. at age two, she was able to attain citizenship at 16 after her mother became a naturalized citizen following her marriage to Alfaro’s step-dad. Alfaro, who graduated with several honors from Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills and is double majoring in Spanish and Women’s Studies, plans on applying to the country’s top law schools in hopes of one day being appointed a judge, like her inspiration, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.“I’m really excited for those deep conversations at LLI,” said Alfaro. “I want to pick their brains and listen to any advice they offer to us as young leaders. I’m very appreciative of the mentoring.” Fellow LLI 2012 cohort member Sarah Palacios — an LMU political science major who is the first in her family to go directly from high school (La Salle in Union Gap, Wash.) to college — is also looking forward to the mentoring opportunities, including meeting Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.“I’m so excited to see people with my same background who made it and dominate [their fields],” said Palacios. “I’m looking forward to LLI’s instructors and mentors helping me hone skills that I already have and taking them above and beyond.Palacios, who remembers riding as a preschooler in her grandmother’s food truck selling breakfast and lunch to farm workers in Washington state, appreciates LLI’s leadership opportunity for Latinos.“We have so much potential,” said Palacios. “No matter where we come from — like me in a field in the middle of nowhere — no doubt we can make it. The doors are open. We just have to get to them.”Paula Doyle contributed to this story.